United Kingdom local elections, 2003

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United Kingdom local elections, 2003
United Kingdom
2002 ←
1 May 2003 → 2004

All 36 metropolitan boroughs, 40 out of 46 unitary authorities,
232 out of 238 English districts and all 32 Scottish council areas
  Majority party Minority party Third party
  Iain Duncan Smith Nightingale 1.JPG Tony Blair.JPG Charles kennedy feb 2009.jpg
Leader Iain Duncan Smith Tony Blair Charles Kennedy
Party Conservative Labour Liberal Democrat
Leader since 13 September 2001 21 July 1994 9 August 1999
Percentage 35 30 27
Councils 110 66 28
Councils +/- Increase31 Decrease28 Increase5
Councillors 4,430 3,012 2,586
Councillors +/- Increase568 Decrease831 Increase189

Local elections took place in various parts of the United Kingdom on 1 May 2003, the same day as the Scottish Parliamentary and the Welsh Assembly elections. There were local elections for all councils in Scotland and in most of England. There were no elections in Wales, Northern Ireland or London.

The ruling Labour Party lost a considerable 833 seats, while both the main opposition parties, Conservative and Liberal Democrat, polled strongly, with the Conservatives enjoying the largest share of the vote. Labour had now been in government for six years and still had a triple-digit majority, and over the summer of 2003 some opinion polls showed the Tories level with Labour. However, these were to be the last of the two local council elections contested by the Tories under the leadership of Iain Duncan-Smith, who was ousted as leader later in the year and succeeded by Michael Howard due to his unpopularity as leader and doubts about his ability to win a general election.

Fifty-nine councils held electoral pilot schemes to try to boost turnout figures. Schemes included all postal voting, mobile polling stations, alterations to voting hours and various kinds of Electronic voting. The most successful in raising turnout was all-postal voting which saw turnout rise to an average of 50%. In comparison, turnout across the whole of England was only 33%.

Summary of results[edit]

The Labour party lost a considerable 833 seats, losing control of councils such as Birmingham and Coventry, both of which the party had controlled for 20 years.

The Conservative party, who following the elections had the most councillors in the country (ahead of Labour by 601), extended its lead over the Labour party by 1,399 councillors. However, their celebrations were tempered by the resignation of Conservative front bencher Crispin Blunt, who described the party leader, Iain Duncan Smith as a "handicap" and called for him to be replaced.[1]

The Liberal Democrat party gained its highest ever share of the vote at 30% only one percent behind the Labour party.

Party Councils Councillors
Gain Loss Change Total Gain Loss Change Total
Conservative +31 110 +566 4,423
Labour -28 66 -833 3,001
Liberal Democrat +5 28 +193 2,624
Independent -2 10 -42 1,142
SNP -1 1 -21 182
Residents 0 2 0 84
Green 0 0 +9 34
BNP 0 0 +13 13
Liberal 0 0 -2 9
Health Concern 0 0 -2 5
Scottish Socialist 0 0 -1 2
Other 0 0 0 0 -24 107
No overall control -5 123

[2]

England[edit]

Metropolitan boroughs[edit]

All 36 English Metropolitan borough councils had one third of their seats up for election.

Council Previous control Result Details
Barnsley Labour Labour hold Details
Birmingham Labour No overall control gain Details
Bolton Labour No overall control gain Details
Bradford No overall control No overall control hold Details
Bury Labour Labour hold Details
Calderdale No overall control No overall control hold Details
Coventry Labour No overall control gain Details
Doncaster Labour Labour hold Details
Dudley Labour No overall control gain Details
Gateshead Labour Labour hold Details
Kirklees No overall control No overall control hold Details
Knowsley Labour Labour hold Details
Leeds Labour Labour hold Details
Liverpool Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat hold Details
Manchester Labour Labour hold Details
Newcastle upon Tyne Labour Labour hold Details
North Tyneside Labour Labour hold Details
Oldham No overall control Labour gain Details
Rochdale Labour No overall control gain Details
Rotherham Labour Labour hold Details
St. Helens Labour Labour hold Details
Salford Labour Labour hold Details
Sandwell Labour Labour hold Details
Sefton No overall control No overall control hold Details
Sheffield No overall control Labour gain Details
Solihull Conservative Conservative hold Details
South Tyneside Labour Labour hold Details
Stockport Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat hold Details
Sunderland Labour Labour hold Details
Tameside Labour Labour hold Details
Trafford Labour No overall control gain Details
Wakefield Labour Labour hold Details
Walsall No overall control No overall control hold Details
Wigan Labour Labour hold Details
Wirral No overall control No overall control hold Details
Wolverhampton Labour Labour hold Details

Unitary authorities[edit]

Whole council[edit]

In 27 English Unitary authorities the whole council was up for election.

Council Previous control Result Details
Bath and North East Somerset No overall control No overall control hold Details
Blackpool Labour Labour hold Details
Bournemouth No overall control Liberal Democrat gain Details
Bracknell Forest Conservative Conservative hold Details
Brighton & Hove Labour No overall control gain Details
Darlington Labour Labour hold Details
East Riding of Yorkshire No overall control No overall control hold Details
Herefordshire No overall control No overall control hold Details
Leicester No overall control No overall control hold Details
Luton Labour No overall control gain Details
Medway No overall control Conservative gain Details
Middlesbrough Labour Labour hold Details
North East Lincolnshire Labour No overall control gain Details
North Lincolnshire Labour Conservative gain Details
North Somerset Conservative No overall control gain Details
Nottingham Labour Labour hold Details
Plymouth Conservative Labour gain Details
Poole No overall control Conservative gain Details
Redcar and Cleveland Labour No overall control gain Details
Rutland Independent Conservative gain Details
South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrat No overall control gain Details
Stockton-on-Tees Labour Labour hold Details
Telford and Wrekin Labour Labour hold Details
Torbay Conservative Liberal Democrat gain Details
West Berkshire Liberal Democrat No overall control gain Details
Windsor and Maidenhead No overall control Liberal Democrat gain Details
York No overall control Liberal Democrat gain Details

‡ New ward boundaries

Third of council[edit]

In 13 English Unitary authorities one third of the council was up for election.

Council Previous control Result Details
Bristol Labour No overall control gain Details
Derby Labour No overall control gain Details
Hartlepool No overall control No overall control hold Details
Kingston upon Hull No overall control No overall control hold Details
Milton Keynes Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat hold Details
Portsmouth No overall control No overall control hold Details
Reading Labour Labour hold Details
Slough Labour Labour hold Details
Southampton No overall control No overall control hold Details
Southend-on-Sea Conservative Conservative hold Details
Stoke-on-Trent No overall control No overall control hold Details
Swindon No overall control No overall control hold Details
Wokingham Conservative Conservative hold Details

District councils[edit]

Whole council[edit]

In 150 English district authorities the whole council was up for election.

Council Previous control Result Details
Allerdale Labour No overall control gain Details
Alnwick No overall control No overall control hold Details
Arun Conservative Conservative hold Details
Ashfield Labour No overall control gain Details
Ashford No overall control Conservative gain Details
Aylesbury Vale No overall control Conservative gain Details
Babergh No overall control No overall control hold Details
Berwick-upon-Tweed Liberal Democrat No overall control gain Details
Blaby Conservative Conservative hold Details
Blyth Valley Labour Labour hold Details
Bolsover Labour Labour hold Details
Boston No overall control No overall control hold Details
Braintree No overall control No overall control hold Details
Breckland Conservative Conservative hold Details
Bridgnorth Independent No overall control gain Details
Bromsgrove Conservative Conservative hold Details
Broxtowe Labour No overall control gain Details
Canterbury No overall control No overall control hold Details
Caradon No overall control No overall control hold Details
Carrick Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat hold Details
Castle Morpeth No overall control No overall control hold Details
Castle Point Labour Conservative gain Details
Charnwood No overall control No overall control hold Details
Chelmsford No overall control Conservative gain Details
Chester-le-Street Labour Labour hold Details
Chesterfield Labour Liberal Democrat gain Details
Chichester Conservative Conservative hold Details
Chiltern Conservative Conservative hold Details
Christchurch Conservative Conservative hold Details
Copeland Labour Labour hold Details
Corby Labour Labour hold Details
Cotswold No overall control Conservative gain Details
Dacorum No overall control Conservative gain Details
Dartford Labour No overall control gain Details
Derbyshire Dales Conservative Conservative hold Details
Derwentside Labour Labour hold Details
Dover No overall control No overall control hold Details
Durham Labour Liberal Democrat gain Details
Easington Labour Labour hold Details
East Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrat No overall control gain Details
East Devon Conservative Conservative hold Details
East Dorset Conservative Conservative hold Details
East Hampshire Conservative Conservative hold Details
East Hertfordshire Conservative Conservative hold Details
East Lindsey Independent No overall control gain Details
East Northamptonshire Conservative Conservative hold Details
East Staffordshire Labour Conservative gain Details
Eden Independent Independent hold Details
Epsom and Ewell Residents Residents hold Details
Erewash Labour Conservative gain Details
Fenland Conservative Conservative hold Details
Forest Heath Conservative Conservative hold Details
Forest of Dean Labour No overall control gain Details
Fylde No overall control Conservative gain Details
Gedling Conservative No overall control gain Details
Gravesham Labour Labour hold Details
Guildford No overall control Conservative gain Details
Hambleton Conservative Conservative hold Details
Harborough No overall control No overall control hold Details
High Peak Labour No overall control gain Details
Hinckley and Bosworth No overall control Conservative gain Details
Horsham Conservative No overall control gain Details
Kennet Conservative Conservative hold Details
Kerrier No overall control No overall control hold Details
Kettering Labour Conservative gain Details
King's Lynn and West Norfolk No overall control Conservative gain Details
Lancaster No overall control No overall control hold Details
Lewes Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat hold Details
Lichfield Conservative Conservative hold Details
Maldon Conservative Conservative hold Details
Malvern Hills Conservative No overall control gain Details
Mansfield Labour Independent gain Details
Melton No overall control Conservative gain Details
Mendip No overall control Conservative gain Details
Mid Bedfordshire Conservative Conservative hold Details
Mid Devon No overall control No overall control hold Details
Mid Suffolk No overall control Conservative gain Details
Mid Sussex Conservative Conservative hold Details
New Forest Conservative Conservative hold Details
Newark and Sherwood No overall control No overall control hold Details
North Cornwall Independent Independent hold Details
North Devon Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat hold Details
North Dorset No overall control No overall control hold Details
North East Derbyshire Labour Labour hold Details
North Kesteven No overall control No overall control hold Details
North Norfolk No overall control Liberal Democrat gain Details
North Shropshire Independent No overall control gain Details
North Warwickshire Labour No overall control gain Details
North West Leicestershire Labour Labour hold Details
North Wiltshire No overall control No overall control hold Details
Northampton Labour No overall control gain Details
Oadby and Wigston Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat hold Details
Oswestry No overall control No overall control hold Details
Restormel No overall control No overall control hold Details
Ribble Valley No overall control Conservative gain Details
Richmondshire No overall control No overall control hold Details
Rother Conservative Conservative hold Details
Rushcliffe Conservative Conservative hold Details
Ryedale No overall control No overall control hold Details
Salisbury No overall control Conservative gain Details
Scarborough No overall control Conservative gain Details
Sedgefield Labour Labour hold Details
Sedgemoor Conservative Conservative hold Details
Selby No overall control Conservative gain Details
Sevenoaks Conservative Conservative hold Details
Shepway Conservative Liberal Democrat gain Details
South Bucks Conservative Conservative hold Details
South Derbyshire Labour Labour hold Details
South Hams Conservative Conservative hold Details
South Holland No overall control Conservative gain Details
South Kesteven No overall control Conservative gain Details
South Norfolk Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat hold Details
South Northamptonshire Conservative Conservative hold Details
South Oxfordshire No overall control Conservative gain Details
South Ribble No overall control No overall control hold Details
South Shropshire No overall control No overall control hold Details
South Somerset Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat hold Details
South Staffordshire Conservative Conservative hold Details
Spelthorne Conservative Conservative hold Details
St Edmundsbury No overall control Conservative gain Details
Stafford No overall control Conservative gain Details
Staffordshire Moorlands No overall control No overall control hold Details
Suffolk Coastal Conservative Conservative hold Details
Surrey Heath Conservative Conservative hold Details
Taunton Deane No overall control Conservative gain Details
Teesdale No overall control Independent gain Details
Teignbridge No overall control No overall control hold Details
Tendring No overall control No overall control hold Details
Test Valley Conservative Conservative hold Details
Tewkesbury No overall control No overall control hold Details
Thanet Labour Conservative gain Details
Tonbridge and Malling No overall control Conservative gain Details
Torridge No overall control No overall control hold Details
Tynedale No overall control Conservative gain Details
Uttlesford No overall control Liberal Democrat gain Details
Vale of White Horse Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat hold Details
Vale Royal Labour No overall control gain Details
Wansbeck Labour Labour hold Details
Warwick No overall control No overall control hold Details
Waverley Conservative Liberal Democrat gain Details
Wealden Conservative Conservative hold Details
Wear Valley Labour Labour hold Details
Wellingborough Labour Conservative gain Details
West Devon No overall control No overall control hold Details
West Dorset No overall control Conservative gain Details
West Somerset Conservative Conservative hold Details
West Wiltshire Liberal Democrat No overall control gain Details
Wychavon Conservative Conservative hold Details
Wycombe Conservative Conservative hold Details
Wyre Conservative Conservative hold Details

‡ New ward boundaries

Third of council[edit]

In 82 English district authorities one third of the council was up for election.

Council Previous control Result Details
Adur Conservative Conservative hold Details
Amber Valley Conservative Conservative hold Details
Barrow-in-Furness No overall control Labour gain Details
Basildon No overall control Conservative gain Details
Basingstoke and Deane No overall control No overall control hold Details
Bassetlaw Labour Labour hold Details
Bedford No overall control No overall control hold Details
Brentwood Liberal Democrat No overall control gain Details
Broadland Conservative Conservative hold Details
Broxbourne Conservative Conservative hold Details
Burnley Labour Labour hold Details
Cambridge Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat hold Details
Cannock Chase Labour No overall control gain Details
Carlisle No overall control No overall control hold Details
Cherwell Conservative Conservative hold Details
Chester No overall control No overall control hold Details
Chorley No overall control No overall control hold Details
Colchester No overall control No overall control hold Details
Congleton No overall control Conservative gain Details
Craven No overall control No overall control hold Details
Crawley Labour Labour hold Details
Crewe and Nantwich No overall control No overall control hold Details
Daventry Conservative Conservative hold Details
Eastbourne Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat hold Details
Eastleigh Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat hold Details
Ellesmere Port and Neston Labour Labour hold Details
Elmbridge Residents Residents hold Details
Epping Forest No overall control No overall control hold Details
Exeter Labour No overall control gain Details
Gloucester No overall control No overall control hold Details
Great Yarmouth Conservative Conservative hold Details
Harlow No overall control No overall control hold Details
Harrogate No overall control No overall control hold Details
Hart Conservative Conservative hold Details
Havant Conservative Conservative hold Details
Hertsmere Conservative Conservative hold Details
Huntingdonshire Conservative Conservative hold Details
Hyndburn Labour Conservative gain Details
Ipswich Labour Labour hold Details
Lincoln Labour Labour hold Details
Macclesfield Conservative Conservative hold Details
Maidstone No overall control No overall control hold Details
Mole Valley No overall control No overall control hold Details
Newcastle-under-Lyme No overall control No overall control hold Details
North Hertfordshire Conservative Conservative hold Details
Norwich Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat hold Details
Pendle No overall control No overall control hold Details
Penwith No overall control No overall control hold Details
Preston No overall control No overall control hold Details
Purbeck Conservative Conservative hold Details
Redditch No overall control No overall control hold Details
Reigate and Banstead Conservative Conservative hold Details
Rochford Conservative Conservative hold Details
Rossendale Labour No overall control gain Details
Rugby No overall control No overall control hold Details
Runnymede Conservative Conservative hold Details
Rushmoor Conservative Conservative hold Details
Shrewsbury and Atcham Conservative Conservative hold Details
South Bedfordshire Conservative Conservative hold Details
South Cambridgeshire No overall control No overall control hold Details
South Lakeland No overall control No overall control hold Details
St Albans No overall control No overall control hold Details
Stevenage Labour Labour hold Details
Stratford-on-Avon No overall control Conservative gain Details
Stroud Conservative Conservative hold Details
Swale Conservative Conservative hold Details
Tamworth Labour Labour hold Details
Tandridge Conservative Conservative hold Details
Three Rivers Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat hold Details
Tunbridge Wells Conservative Conservative hold Details
Watford No overall control Liberal Democrat gain Details
Waveney No overall control No overall control hold Details
Welwyn Hatfield Conservative Conservative hold Details
West Lancashire Conservative Conservative hold Details
West Lindsey No overall control No overall control hold Details
West Oxfordshire Conservative Conservative hold Details
Weymouth and Portland No overall control No overall control hold Details
Winchester Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat hold Details
Woking No overall control No overall control hold Details
Worcester No overall control Conservative gain Details
Worthing Liberal Democrat No overall control gain Details
Wyre Forest No overall control No overall control hold Details

Scotland[edit]

All 32 Scottish unitary authorities held elections. They were held at the same time as the Scottish Parliamentary Election, 2003.

Council Previous control Result Details
Aberdeen No overall control No overall control hold Details
Aberdeenshire No overall control No overall control hold Details
Angus SNP SNP hold Details
Argyll and Bute Independent Independent hold Details
Clackmannanshire SNP Labour gain Details
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Independent Independent hold Details
Dumfries and Galloway No overall control No overall control hold Details
Dundee No overall control No overall control hold Details
East Ayrshire Labour Labour hold Details
East Dunbartonshire No overall control No overall control hold Details
East Lothian Labour Labour hold Details
East Renfrewshire No overall control No overall control hold Details
Edinburgh Labour Labour hold Details
Falkirk No overall control No overall control hold Details
Fife No overall control No overall control hold Details
Glasgow Labour Labour hold Details
Highland Independent Independent hold Details
Inverclyde No overall control Liberal Democrats gain Details
Midlothian Labour Labour hold Details
Moray Independent Independent hold Details
North Ayrshire Labour Labour hold Details
North Lanarkshire Labour Labour hold Details
Orkney Independent Independent hold Details
Perth and Kinross No overall control No overall control hold Details
Renfrewshire No overall control Labour gain Details
Scottish Borders No overall control No overall control hold Details
Shetland Independent Independent hold Details
South Ayrshire Labour No overall control gain Details
South Lanarkshire Labour Labour hold Details
Stirling No overall control Labour gain Details
West Dunbartonshire No overall control Labour gain Details
West Lothian Labour Labour hold Details

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tory leader dismisses leadership threat". BBC News. 2 May 2003. Retrieved 27 June 2016. 
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference parliament.uk was invoked but never defined (see the help page).